For Men Only
When reading and studying the Quran, even watching The Deen Show, one comes to consider Islam a religion, an ideology, for men only. It is demeaning towards women is so many respects. Though there may be allowances for certain women’s privileges, it distinctly places women in a weaker, lesser category, with emphasis on the male.
The following are excerpts from a male response to a blog on MuslimMatters (www.MuslimMatters.org) regarding Polygamy. I have summarized the discussion on this blog at UI Part 111 – Polygamy: Rational vs. Irrational
The author’s name I have held back; we will refer to him as Serj. It is not presented in its entirety, but the excerpts make every effort to not alter the intent in any way. Also the bullet points were for emphasis, the wording belongs to the author. My comments follow the quoted elements. (I did correct the spelling of ‘polygamous’ that was used – changed from ‘polygynous”.)
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“I think the first thing to point out is that the poor practices of certain men in polygamous marriages doesn’t undermine the institution itself or prove something is wrong with it….
The second point to bring up is that polygamy has a place and context in which its benefit can be pronounced….these benefits are benefits we’ve derived observing the life of the Prophet …. synthesized to respond to discussions … where … challenged as unfair.
….when …ask(ed) why aren’t polygamous men looking for widows and divorcees, it’s because there’s no explicit recommendation for it. Yes, (Muhammad married a previously married woman) … but then he also recommended marrying young, previously unmarried women….
Last point is what I’ve observed from personal experience, as well as what I see in the sources, most of which is not politically correct.
- I believe that while men and women are capable of the same level of physical desire, I think throughout the duration of a marriage, women don’t have the same frequency of sexual drive that men possess.
- I also believe that women do not have the same “switch”, and this is also attested to in scientific literature, that men are aroused by visual / physical stimulus (and often stimulated) whereas women can be aroused by visual stimulus, but are not at the same degree, and after marriage require more on the emotional side to stimulate arousal.
- I think this internal desire which men have to control and subvert is a huge test, and the manner in which women are sexualized in Western culture is a testament to the exertion of a male perspective-dominated media,
- so I consider it a mercy from Allah that He gives men the option to marry more than one woman if he can afford to care for them financially equally.
- …. I can see the perspective of the first wife in that she’s made to feel insecure and inadequate, and that the emotional repercussions are tremendous.
- ….I wonder if women who (are) married … understand how damaging it is that many of them (to)
- tune out sexually and
- leave their husbands both now married with a woman at home who’s rarely in the mood, and
- women all around calling attention to themselves.
- A man should not have to fast if he’s already married
- I like what ‘Aisha … did with her own jealousy – she didn’t wallow in her misery, but she was feisty and she competed ferociously, and she was the favorite of the Prophet. I think this is a possible good example first wives can benefit from.”
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Responses/Reaction to Serj
I have made an assumption. The author, Serj, represents the Muslim male. He follows the practices of Muhammad. He respects the Quran, and reads the words as those of Allah, not as dictation from Muhammad and Companions. He does not sense a male’s input, the wants, predilections and desires of men, in this document. He believes blindly in Allah and the Quran and the Prophet. He interprets, most probably, literally with an emphasis on the role of a man, the opportunities for a man, and the justification for men.
If I were to not be kind to Serj, I would label him using a Richard Dawkins demeaning style (as Dawkins once referenced God), yet representative of what Dawkins took from the Bible, in this case what I took from reading Seji’s comments, calling him, ‘selfish, misogynistic, self-serving, weak, unemotional, detached, prefers ‘quickies’, loves without emotion to satisfy personal needs, is more a user than a partner, a malevolent bully, petty and unjust.’ But to be kind he is a believer. This then leads to my title to this blog – Is Islam ‘For Men Only’?
The Deen Show
There is a TV or maybe it is only an Internet show, I have only seen segments on YouTube, called The Deen Show. The intro describes the show, with host Eddie, “for Islam and Muslims”, intended for the audience “to learn about the most misunderstood way of life today.” I heard guests Dr. Lawrence Brown, Joshua Evans, Yusef Estes, Frank Avila, Nouman Ali Khan, Zakir Naik, Snoop Dogg, Yasir Qadhi, and more. Note all those interviews are with men. I have yet to see a woman on this show. Much of what I watched and heard was an apologetic for Islam and the Quran, and a refutation of subjects such as the Trinity and Jesus as God. It defends the ideology of Islam, represented as a male culture, having men as the spokespersons.
Muslim Male Thinking and Logic
Knowing how the Muslim male thinks and believes, except for a sincere and dedicated submission to Allah, how could a woman even contemplate marriage to a Muslim man? They will be treated as chattel, needing 2 woman to have the voice of 1 man in financial matters, needing 4 men to defend their honor in the case of rape, having no claim of rape by one’s husband in a marriage, being physically disciplined as a disobedient wife – 1st verbal, 2nd refrain from intimate relations, 3rd beatings, a man need only say “I divorce you” three times and the marriage ends and the children stay with the man.
Quoting an Arabic Woman
Quoting an Arabic woman (Muslim and a strong believer in Allah),
“Most men behave as if God created women to only please them and stay under their wardship. They believe a woman has certain functions to fulfill and she is always a burden. Does God really want that?!…. Women will be always accused and men admired! I believe Islam, like any other revealed religion, states duties and rights on both, and women are sisters of men. They (are) meant to complete one another. During the life of the prophet, women were there in every occasion…in migration, prayers, nursing and even fighting in wars. There was no separation between men and women in the field of work and education. A woman would ask the prophet before other men about delicate subjects and he wouldn’t object her! He would defend her when other men condemn her! This is my true religion and this is my beloved prophet! Stories that misrepresent his image will never last. There will be a time when the light of God spreads all over the Earth. There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.”
The woman’s quote is honest, she believes, but she has doubts. She represents the voice of the Muslim woman as Serj represents the voice of the men. And if the abuse continues, will the woman of Islam finally object, rebel, and turn to a path that provides greater freedom, love and respect for women. There will always be the question of women’s loyalty to Islam and the male dominated society it idealizes. There will be the need to control the women to prevent a mass exodus to another religion. What would the men do without the women?
From the Hadith – a quote of Muhammad – “I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of the dwellers are women.”
According to Ergun Caner (Unveiling Islam (2009, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI., pg. 140), “If a woman is honored and respected in an Islamic home, it is in spite of the teachings of Muhammad, rather than because of them.”
Why two woman are required vs one man as a witness in court, answered by Kutub: (http://www.ediscoverislam.com /About-Islam/Women-in-Islam/islam-and-women – Islam and Women, by Muhammed Kutub). The woman is by her very nature vehemently emotional, impressionable and liable to digress from the real facts of the case in hand. Therefore it is wise to have another woman along with her “so if the one erreth the other will remember…”
Does the above suggest Muslim men do not make mistakes?
Muhammad Kutub has his own classification for woman in Islam:
- They need a second woman in court in case the first makes a mistake remembering.
- As a head of household, man, equipped as he is with rational qualities and a strong physical body, is more entitled to head (the household) than a woman who is by her very nature emotional, susceptible to external influences and thus ill equipped for the struggle of life as well as the headship of the family
- Man’s physical constitution (in marriage) is such as impels him to sexual gratification more often so as to relieve himself of its oppression
- Allowing woman to act out their inhibitions freely is to cause destruction to the social order and is thus not permitted.
- Islam limits women to go outside their houses only when there is really a genuine need for them to do so.
- That woman is reduced to a very low plane of existence is undoubtedly true
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Additional Male Comments:
“Polygamy in the West (the USA primarily) has to be practiced more delicately than…elsewhere….Instead of legally marrying your first wife and then not your other wives…have Islamic marriages….If a man is practicing polygamy properly, there is no reason why any of his wives or children should be depending on governmental assistance or welfare to have their needs met….in the West (women) have better access to education and the potential to work outside the home to earn income….One wife could stay at home and watch the children…while (the others) pursue a career and contribute to the family.”
This may be happening in America already, but in reported cases, as in Deerborn, Michigan, the welfare system is being used/abused. From the statement above this would be in violation of the Will of Allah – as would illegal marriages.
“Islam is now cool with dating and living together and there is absolutely no reason Allah mandated marriage as the only permissible relationship form.”
A third-party response: “….in Islam marriage is a contract. What (is described above) is a poor attempt to recreate what Allah has already standardized to protect every person entering marriage….smearing the reputation of chaste women is one of Islam’s major sins.”
“The being ‘secret’ (not legally marrying)…is only to the extent people fear prosecution. The state (US governance) almost never prosecutes bigamy unless there is some other crime….The mere fact that it is not legal does not make it ‘haram’…. Lastly the mere fact that something can be abused does not mean it is of no value….that is the mistake many anti-polygamy people make….”
A Muslim woman countering:
“I think we can agree on the following (as to the idea that Islam grants women rights):
- In Islam ‘everyone’ seeking to be in a conjugal relationship must be married.
- In Islam marriage is a contract that must be publicly announced to be valid.
- A contract, in law, is a legally binding agreement between two or more persons which creates an obligation to do or not do a particular thing.
As such, that Allah intended for ‘all’ women (and men) to have legal and social rights in marriage is not controversial.
(Without a legal marriage you presume) a total willingness on the part of the ‘husband’ to enter into and pay for (financial rights in a broken marriage, legal expenses, medical bills, and the rights of children to a safe, secure home)…. (This) will not be true in many (if not most) cases….this is not a viable alternative to legal marriage.
Practicing polygamy is optional (in Islam), and so if it is illegal in your country (thus making it ‘impossible’ to afford equal rights to all ‘wives’) then Islamically, it should definitely not be practiced in that environment.”
Another Muslim women’s comment:
“I can say, without hesitation, that young Muslim men these days are lazy, immature, fools who lack characters of manhood. Many of them play video games all day. Many of them hang out with their ‘boys’ until they are in their thirties. They can’t even graduate in 4 years, and walk around aimlessly on the earth for another 4 trying to figure out what they really want to do. And when they do get married, if they do, they end up being so controlled by their wives that the rest of their 10 friends who are single hate the idea of marriage….So many men don’t want to get married these days to western Muslim girls because they see the state of marriage and, other than Sex, they don’t see the benefit in it….”
More from a Muslim woman:
“Monogamy is not a Western viewpoint. Let us please stop using the West as our scapegoat in every discussion. Allah created men and women in roughly equal numbers. That means Allah intended monogamy as the standard, and ‘allowed (not commanded)’ us to depart from that standard in some cases….It allowed and LIMITED (polygamy) for the benefit of the women, not for the pleasure of men….”
A man’s perspective anew:
“Polygamy is logical to us. It makes perfect sense. Sisters, please don’t burst your brains trying to understand why it is permissible. It just is…. Men will always be men….Men are either cheating, watching haram (porno), or wishing for polygamy whether unhappily or happily married. Don’t you think there is a universal male yearning for more than one Partner?….if you have any problems take it up with your Creator.”
By now you get my point, issue, concern and question. Why would any woman want to be a Muslim knowing how men see Allah complicit and as a compliment to their selfish, often immoral actions (such as week-end wives and holiday marriages) relegating woman to a much lesser status than men on this earth?
Islam should be For Men Only. That may be the case today anyway. Women are forced to remain in the ideology of Islam to which they were born. The parents, the father, are instructed, called by Allah, to kill the daughter should she leave the faith or deny Islam in any way. They cannot accept another faith, at least not openly. It is better to be a non-practicing Muslim, disobedient to Allah, not adhering to the Five Pillars or the Adhan (the call to prayer), but still be a Muslim, even if in name only, than to be a Christian or a Jew. Neither religious freedom nor the freedom of womae is advocated by the Quran, or the men of Islam.
Only daily prayer for the salvation of the women, and the men, of Islam can eventually change the course of an intransigent mind, enslaved by the Quran and the men of Islam, in denial of the Truth of the Bible and focused on an ideology that does not fit the modern world. All that we see and hear in Muslim dominated areas today is chaos, resentment, calls of persecution, with little overt activity to change to become productive members of society – their own or otherwise. I know how negative this must sound. But until it can be demonstrated, proven, that a Muslim governed entity can be productive without a reliance on natural resources (currently accessed by labor other than Muslim), third-party financial support, and without weapons at the ready, I can only see weakness, emotional instability, and the misogynistic characteristics exhibited by Serj in all of the Muslim male world.
Muslim women can show leadership. Can form their own union to fight the oppression and lesser status they suffer. It is not the suffering that is intended; it is a love for God and the trials that loving God can present. There is logic, a rational approach, and a loving God. It may be represented in part in Islam, but not in entirety. There are too many attempts to deny the Risen Lord, the Oneness of God in the Bible, and the divinty of Christ that establish a pattern of control over a people. The most restrictive bands inhibit the female. They can be broken and faith in the Saving Grace of the Lord will set you free.
Grace and Peace